It's official: Duluth's JROTC program is on the agenda for next week's Duluth school board meeting. The good news is that several members have changed their minds and will vote to cut the program. The bad news is that we expect a proposal to keep JROTC for one more school year (and another $170,000), so that current JROTC juniors can graduate from the program. You see where this is going: the board could use the same excuse next year and the year after that and...
The vote could be close. We need to send a clear message to the board: not one more year of JROTC. Here's what you can do:
1. TUESDAY, April 21: we need a big turnout for the board meeting! It starts at 6:30 pm in the Old Central building downtown (Lake Ave & 2nd St). Get there early if you want to speak.
2. Contact members of the board and administration by email or phone.
Duluth School Board
Mary Cameron (At Large): mary.cameron@ duluth.k12. mn.us; 341-8893
Laura Condon (District 4): laura.condon@ duluth.k12. mn.us; 624-7045
Gary Glass (At Large): gary.glass@duluth. k12.mn.us; 525-2384
Tim Grover (District 3): tim.grover@duluth. k12.mn.us; 722-5961
Nancy Nilsen (At Large): nancy.nilsen@ duluth.k12. mn.us; 628-2125
Judy Seliga Punyko (District 2): Judy.SeligaPunyko@ duluth.k12. mn.us; 525-4688
Ann Wasson (District 1): ann.wasson@duluth. k12.mn.us; 728-1931
Joe Hill: joe.hill@duluth. k12.mn.us; 336-8739
JROTC talking points:
1. JROTC violates the independence of our educational system. We expect schools to encourage critical thinking, but as a marketing program of the US military, JROTC instills pro-military points of view about history, military spending and democracy. For example, JROTC textbooks suggest that citizenship means following the chain of command, even when we disagree. They instruct students that a huge military is necessary for our defense and that the Vietnam war was lost because the US military was "weak."
2. JROTC discriminates. The Pentagon reserves the right to vet JROTC instructors for sexual orientation and certain disabilities, meaning they are the only district employees not fully protected by state human rights law.
3. JROTC is dishonest about its motives. Peter Palen wrote in the Duluth News Tribune that JROTC "is not a recruiting activity." But his former boss, then-Secretary of State William Cohen, told Congress in 2000 that JROTC "is one of the best recruiting devices we could have." Congress and the Pentagon expect the Duluth schools to keep a minimum number of "physically fit" students enrolled in JROTC.
4. JROTC is not an effective use of community resources. JROTC costs the district an astounding $170,000/year while hardly attracting enough student interest to keep the military itself from axing it. 56 students are enrolled in JROTC this year, out of nearly 10,000 students in the district. In the face of a multi-million dollar deficit, keeping JROTC would mean that the district would have to make up the savings by slashing $170,000 from other - likely more popular - school programming.
For more information, contact the Truth in Recruiting committee at truthinrecruiting(at)riseup(dot)net or call Joel at 218-340-4356